Sheila Sobchik

The recent opening of Costco Warehouse in San Luis Obispo on September 17 has brought thousands to the outskirts of the city for discounts.

The property, located at 1540 Froom Ranch Way,  measures 139,600 square feet and has plenty to offer. Costco carries fresh meat, fresh produce, a bakery, a service deli, an optical department with an independent optometrist, a pharmacy, a photo center,  a tire center, fine wine and liquor, a food court and even a gas station.

The gas prices at Costco are the lowest in the city at $2.89 a gallon for regular.

They also carry national name-brand merchandise such as Kodak, Kraft, Sony, Ray-Ban, Michelin, Disney, Compaq, Microsoft, Titleist and more. The store has nearly 4,000 different products.

Membership to Costco costs $45 per year, which includes a free household card.

Shey Rodger, 20 of Morro Bay said she has already traveled twice to San Luis Obispo just for Costco.

“They just have so much more to offer than any other store in the area and in mass quantities for good prices.”

SLO County residents who live north of San Luis Obispo seem to be especially happy with the new location as in the past they’ve had to travel nearly an hour to Santa Maria for the only Costco in the area.

The city’s excitement can be gauged by the 3,000 applications for employment Costco has already received, Warehouse Manager Jay Doughty said in a recent press release.

“We’re excited by the additional revenue we believe Costco can bring to San Luis Obispo,” he said.

Some people that may not be as excited about Costco’s recent opening are similar surplus stores such as Smart & Final and Food4Less.

“We have competed effectively with Costco in other communities and markets and I see no reason why we will not do the same in San Luis Obispo,” said Randall Oliver,  director of corporate communications for Smark & Final. “Smart & Final offers a good value on restaurant quality products.”

One Smart & Final regular, Hannah Stevens, 66 of San Luis Obispo, said that she prefers Smart & Final because she lives right around the corner and doesn’t see a reason to drive out to Costco. Stevens added that she would feel lost at Costco.

“Smart & Final isn’t as overwhelming as Costco and I can get everything I need there.” 

Oliver agreed.

“Our smaller warehouse format saves our customers time and money,” he said.

Food4Less, however, is less than a mile away from Costco and may potentially face some competition problems.

“I’m done shopping at Food4Less because Costco simply has more to offer and they are basically right next to each other, plus I love all the free samples at Costco,” Pat Sullivan, 26 of San Luis Obispo said.

The San Luis Obispo location is Costco’s 103rd in California, 340th in the U.S. and 462nd worldwide.

 “We have one mission, to sell top-quality merchandise to our members at the lowest possible prices,” CEO Jim Sinegal said in a recent press release.

This is exactly what has thousands of San Luis Obispo residents flocking to Costco.

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